Saudi Cabinet discusses the humanitarian situation following catastrophic earthquake in Syria & Turkey
The Saudi Cabinet discussed developments in the humanitarian situation as a result of the earthquake in Syria and Turkey, and the Kingdom’s efforts in rescue and relief work.
The Saudi Press Agency (SPA) stated that the council started its meeting today, chaired by King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, by reviewing the content of the phone call made by the Crown Prince and Prime Minister, Mohammed bin Salman, to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Furthermore, the phone call included condolences for the earthquake’s victims as well as affirmation of the Kingdom’s support for the brothers to overcome this disaster.
The Saudi Press Agency (SPA) stated that the cabinet, during its recent meeting, followed “the developments in the humanitarian situation as a result of the earthquake.
It also followed the Kingdom’s efforts to mitigate its effects on the two brotherly peoples of Turkey and Syria. This was done by participating in rescue work, sending medical, shelter, food, and logistical aid, and organizing a popular campaign in favor of those affected by this event.
It added that this comes as “an extension of the humanitarian role that the Kingdom plays by standing with the afflicted and the bereaved in all parts of the world.”
Thousands of children and families are at risk after two devastating earthquakes and dozens of aftershocks hit southeastern Turkey and Syria.
According to the authorities, thousands of families, including children, have been killed in both countries, and thousands more have been injured. These numbers are on the rise.
In Turkey, efforts are currently focused on search and rescue, and UNICEF is coordinating with the government and the Presidency of Disaster and Emergency Management (AFAD) on emerging needs linked to the broader humanitarian response.
In Syria, UNICEF is assessing the impact of the two earthquakes and preparing to support the humanitarian response, in coordination with partners.
It is likely that thousands of homes have been destroyed, displacing the families who used to live in them. This is because they were exposed to the elements at a time of the year when temperatures usually drop below freezing and there is plenty of snow and hail. Heavy snow storms have also recently hit parts of Syria and Turkey, and this coincides with the expectation of more sub-zero temperatures.
“The images we are seeing from Syria and Turkey are heartbreaking,” said UNICEF Executive Director Kathryn Russell. “The fact that the first earthquake occurred early in the morning when many children were fast asleep, made it more dangerous”.
Aftershocks also bring constant dangers. Our hearts and thoughts are with the affected children and families, especially those who have lost loved ones or been injured.
Schools, hospitals, and other medical and educational facilities are likely to have been damaged or destroyed by earthquakes, which will adversely affect children. Potential damage to roads and critical infrastructure will also complicate search and rescue efforts and the broader humanitarian response.
Children in Syria continue to face one of the most complex humanitarian situations in the world. Two-thirds of the population need assistance in light of the deepening economic crisis.
The continuation of fighting after more than a decade of grinding conflict, mass displacement, and the destruction of public infrastructure. There are severe problems with food insecurity, reliance on unsafe alternative water sources, protection issues, and high levels of school dropouts.
Waterborne diseases pose an additional deadly threat to affected children and families. In Syria, a cholera outbreak announced on 10 September 2022 spread like wildfire across the country, with children particularly vulnerable.